In Love's Shadow

By Catherine Lanigan, November 1998, Contemporary Romance
MIRA, $5.99, ISBN #1-55166-435-6


From the imaginative author of Romancing the Stone, Catherine Lanigan brings us her most recent adventure through a life that offers romance, strength and revenge along with just a dash of the dark side of human nature -- deceit.

In Loveís Shadow is a story of three women who have surrendered large portions of their lives to a man each loved and hated and who, on a cold and still night in December, shattered all three lives by taking his own. The story takes us through each womanís struggle to piece together the shards of life left behind after Bud Pulaskiís selfish betrayals - both while he was living and in death.

Lanigan creates a story centered around three very different types of women. Roya, Budís naive wife of 20 years, seems feeble and just a bit shallow when we first encounter her at a Christmas party her sister, Addie, invites her to attend. Thankfully, she grows a spine through the course of events that follow her husbandís death and I ended up rooting for her.

Kitt is Budís second "victim" in life. This sorry excuse for a woman sat around for close to 30 years waiting for her man, only to settle for the role of mistress. Filled with an absurd jealousy and wallowing in self-pity, Kitt tries to make Royaís life even more difficult by revealing her long-time affair with Bud. Frankly, had I been Roya, discovering my husband had cheated on my for so long would have been a blessing. After all, finding a dead husband in the kitchen right before Christmas is bad enough. Learning the dead husband left me bankrupt and alone with two teenage girls is even worse. But who would I be to feel bitter and betrayed, right?

Finally, thereís Daria, Budís little sister, who has lived her life in the shadow of her older sibling. Lanigan depicts perfectly how hard life must be for a woman turning 50 with no experience of making her own decisions. Bud forced her from the feminist, Bohemian lifestyle she experienced as a young woman. He lured her into a life of serving the needs of the family business only to later realize she had no privilege to her birthright.

The men and other supporting characters the author creates for these women are well written. They divert our attention from the futility these women feel as a result of their connection to Bud. Author Lanigan illustrates that even through mistakes of the heart and family loyalty, love and security is eventually possible. There can be healing and happiness; even Kitt gets what she deserves.

Although at times you feel like you are experiencing lapses in sequence (her writing fits a screenplay better than a manuscript) or are a passenger in the first car of a rollercoaster ride in a dark tunnel with too many turns and a couple of spins you never saw coming, In Loveís Shadow kicks into gear as you go along. With the help of a little explanation and a few explosive love scenes, this novel is a worthwhile read. Enjoy the ride!

-- Melissa Gold

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Read an AAR Review of Catherine Lanigan's California Moon
Read an AAR Review of Catherine Lanigan's Wings of Destiny
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